Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Live Blogging the Seattle School Board Meeting

I am unlikely to be able to do this all night but it seems clear that no vote will be taken on growth boundaries.  I say that because both Director Patu and Director Blanford are not in attendance (she's at a conference and no reason was given for his absence.) As well, Superintendent Nyland is not there and Deputy Superintendent Steve Nielson is filling in for him.

As Nielson noted during the superintendent's comments, it's a big issue to not have a full roster of board members there to vote on.

I will have more to say on the MTSS presentation that was given.

Representative Gerry Pollet got to speak as an elected official.  He said that Nyland Herndon, Nielson and others met with five members of the Seattle legislative group yesterday, in what he said was a productive meeting. He said that he wanted to speak on the Cedar Park issue and the legislative agenda and that they were closely intertwined.

He said it took a lot of parents to get the district to meet our "serious overcrowding and capacity issues" several years ago and that Cedar Park was one of the buildings that they had asked the State for money to renovate to meet that need.  When we asked for funding and it was for a school for 240-280 students, not 400 students, not 350 students.

He stated he was very concerned about opening the school that looks to be segregated but that's what, to him, it looks like the district is doing. He said it would be serving the highest poverty census tract in Seattle which might come as a surprise to think it is south of the ship canal.  "We can and have to do better."  "But we should not open a building" for a high-needs population that needs supports especially in a building that is less-than-desirable.

He said the Supreme Court is holding the State in contempt for issues both around funding and capital needs.  The school construction formula has not changed for years and years and this has penalized Seattle.  He pointed out that many Puget Sound suburban newly built schools look like they are for Southern California, with no inside halls while SPS has interior halls and stairwells.  He wants to change the formula.

He said he is going to advocate for state dollars to renovate John Rogers that is just one of several schools that want to serve these high-needs students.  He also said they are trying to provide more transportation funding.


Lynn said...

Michael Tolley keeps pointing to MTSS as the new method of providing advanced learning services - but the Lawton staff at tonight's meeting didn't mention advanced students once. They clearly don't see that as a part of MTSS.

Anonymous said...

If the board agrees MTSS is worthless, are they able to do anything?

Fix AL

Anonymous said...

Is Blanford a Cubs fan?

Baseball night2remember

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think there needs to be a VERY serious talk about MTSS because it is simply not being done the same school to school and the district can't even pinpoint all its costs. The Board should not accept this much longer.

kellie said...

Thank you Gerry Pollet. He is a great friend to our schools.

Anonymous said...

What happened re: the Emerson protest?


Watching said...

State Representative Gerry Pollet is a Rockstar!

2E Lawsuit? said...

Is MTSS (mutli-tier system of support) legally mandated?

A Google search turns up MTSS plans for many different states. But then further research suggests MTSS is just a new name for RTI (response to intervention), renamed so that funds that aren't allowed to be used for RTI can be used for MTSS.

But MTSS doesn't say what to do with kids who are advanced. And it definitely doesn't say anything about identifying kids who are advanced but ALSO have a learning disability that legally qualifies for IDEA support.

Is there a 2E class action lawsuit in the works?

Anonymous said...

Could parents send teachers at every SPS school an anonymous survey asking detailed questions about how MTSS works at their school, if they're supported, which students it serves well and which get left in the corner to fend for themselves?

Teachers Know

NE Parent said...

If the district supported MTSS, in the grade specific math pacing guide that the SPS math department developed, there would be differentiated lesson plans for teachers to implement, but there aren’t. In the grade specific ELA curriculum developed by the district, there would be differentiated lesson plans for teachers to implement, but there aren’t. The same is true for writing and science and social studies.

My kids have had some wonderful teachers, and several have done a fantastic job differentiating, but I have been to eight curriculum night presentations, and not once has a teacher ever talked about or had a slide about MTSS.

If a company advertised a product like the SPS advertises MTSS, they would very likely be in violation of federal Truth in Advertising laws and prosecuted for fraud.

Anonymous said...

fraud = mtss

well said ne p

and on the state level mtss does not meet hc ed concerns. nice try mt.


Anonymous said...

After our amazing board sorts thru the boundary mess...next priority is MT needs to be removed from his position.

Hot air

Anonymous said...

I saw a chart on diversity numbers for HCC but it was for the entire district. Why don't they show the numbers for south seattle vs north seattle so we can look at numbers relative to the population at schools they are drawing from? Again, Cascadia is more diverse than many North Seattle schools. In south Seattle, my understanding is kids of color are poached, or the school actively tries to keep them for their test scores. Not saying any of this is okay, I just would hate to see the true picture of what is going on because we're missing the story behind the numbers.

Data mix

Anonymous said...

I watched last night's public testimony. I had no idea the 2017-18 growth boundaries changes had such an impact on Emerson Elementary School.

-reality check

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Board meeting last night actually DID feature a school presentation on MTSS. I'm struggling to remember which school but a principal and two teachers came. I don't believe they addressed MTSS.

MTSS is not mandated by anyone but this district. As Charlie pointed out, we're almost nine year into this thing.

When I questioned the costs of MTSS at the community budget meeting last week (and there's still one tonight at South Shore K-8), I was told it spread across so many areas, it would be hard to say. I am going to let the Board know this because that's wrong to say. The district should know how much every single initiative or program costs within, say, $1,000.

Anonymous said...

The MTSS presentation was from Lawton.
-North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, North-end Mom and a correction to what I (hurriedly) wrote:

"I don't believe they addressed AL, not MTSS."

Anonymous said...

I didn't hear much about AL in the MTSS presentation, either, but it was a packed house, and it was hard to hear the presentation.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I also would like to thank Rep. Pollet for his advocacy.

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I've heard Lawton does a fabulous job of supporting the whole child, and every child. Must be nice.

MTSS sucks

ConcernedSPSParent said...

MTSS; 9 long years. Either fix it or drop it, either would take leadership so I guess we drift on. I hope the Board replaces Nyland sooner rather than later...

Anonymous said...

Lawton doesn't do squat for advanced learners since they dissolved their Spectrum. All done with your work? Go read a book. Same at Wedgwood.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Funny, both schools have quite a few HC kids. You'd think they must be doing more than reading. Could you amplify your comment please, open ears?

They are both designated Spectrum and they provide transport. Don't they both have cluster-grouping and walk-to's?

Hazel Wolf and Tops are the K-8 schools that I've heard do a very good job with AL. Coe, Haye and QA elementary get good reports. Viewridge and Whittier I've heard are strong despite losing their self-contained classrooms. Bryant seems to feed the most kids into the HCC.

A lot these HC kids don't test in until middle school or at least after they have been at their neighborhood school for a few years, so maybe they do learn something other than extra reading before they go into the cohort.

I think you are attacking schools you know nothing about, open ears. For what reason I don't know.

Lawton made a thoughtful presentation, I felt. It was focused on how they support struggling students which seems to be an ongoing focus at Lawton. Inclusion is an important concept there it seems, which in my book is commendable.

I'd like to know how many kids they sent to Hamilton last year, that would give some indication of how they deal with advanced learners.

Worker Bee

Anonymous said...

QAE does a good job with AL? Unless that is brand new this year with the new principal, that is total misinformation. QAE is AL hostile, or was under David Elliott.


Anonymous said...

Again, you need to elaborate.

That would actually be a good topic for a thread:

In which ways schools are hostile to advanced learning and how neighborhood schools could better serve AL and HC designated kids.

We always say they do a bad job; how could they do better without self-containment?

Worker Bee

Anonymous said...

@open ears--a friend of mine has a very bright son and he was miserable at Wedgwood but thriving at Lawton. The mother expressed a happiness with the fact that at Lawton the focus less on test scores, more on the "whole child" and she said the staff as been incredibly caring and responsive. I have a few more years under my belt, so I know each year depends on the teacher and student make up, regardless of which school your child attends.

MTSS Sucks

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I'll be starting a whole thread on new HCC info this weekend.

Anonymous said...

@ Worker Bee, you said:

A lot these HC kids don't test in until middle school or at least after they have been at their neighborhood school for a few years, so maybe they do learn something other than extra reading before they go into the cohort.

I'd like to know how many kids they sent to Hamilton last year, that would give some indication of how they deal with advanced learners.

I'm not following your logic. Are you suggesting that because they have a fair number that ultimately go into HCC, that they must be doing something right, otherwise students wouldn't qualify for HCC later? Or that they must be doing something right, otherwise students wouldn't stick around?

I'm not sure I completely agree with either. MY child qualified for HCC every year, but we stayed at our neighborhood for other reasons even though that had NO AL services. My child continued to qualify, but not because of anything the school was doing. At least a third of my child's fifth grade class moved to HCC the following year, but this in no way reflects on the school's approach to serving (aka not serving) advanced learners. It's purely reflective of who was at the school.


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